MINNEAPOLIS -- It seems as if Derek Jeter’s entire 20-year major-league career has been a highlight reel.
His 14th and final All-Star Game was no exception.
Jeter had pair of hits and received several loud ovations in the American League’s 5-3 win over the National League in the 85th All-Star Game at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, on Tuesday night.
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley returned to the All-Star Game after a four-year absence and stroked a long, RBI double to right for the NL.
Jeter doubled and singled in two at-bats, raising his batting average in All-Star Games to .481 (13 for 27). He left the game in the top of the fourth inning to a huge ovation from the crowd. The NL players stood in front of their dugout and applauded Jeter as he left the field and the future Hall of Famer was saluted with handshakes and hugs in the AL dugout.
After a few moments, Jeter rose up the dugout steps and doffed his cap to the fans.
It was a memorable way to exit his final All-Star Game.
The 40-year-old Jeter, owner of five World Series rings, will now return to the New York Yankees to finish his farewell season. Baseball will miss him.
“Two decades ago, if you said this is the guy who will be the face of baseball and what this generation will remember, you couldn’t have written a script like this,” commissioner Bud Selig said. “He is just remarkable. I said to a friend of mine last night talking about Henry Aaron, ‘How lucky can you be to have an American icon turn out like Henry Aaron? How lucky can this sport be to have the icon of this generation turn out to be Derek Jeter?’ Amazing. He makes it easy to be commissioner.”
Mike Trout, the pride of Millville, N.J., had a pair of RBIs on a double and a triple and was named the game’s MVP.
It was almost poetic that Jeter and Trout shared the same stage. Trout, 22, grew up idolizing Jeter and is considered the player who will carry Jeter’s torch as the face of baseball.
“Growing up, watching him on TV, I was setting goals for myself that if I ever got to the big leagues that was how I was going to play,” Trout said. “He was always hustling, running balls out. That’s how I want to play.
“It was pretty special being part of this night. Chills, goosebumps, you name it. Everything was going on in my body.”
Jeter addressed the AL team before the game.
“He thanked us,” Trout said. “We should be thanking him.”
Jeter led off for the AL club. As he approached home plate to the taped introduction of legendary Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard in the bottom of the first, the crowd rose in a standing ovation. The moment was not lost on NL starting pitcher Adam Wainwright. He put down his glove, backed off the mound and applauded. He did not pick up his glove until the cheers died down.
Wainwright’s first pitch to Jeter was a fastball for a ball. He came back with another fastball and Jeter, showing his classic inside-out swing, stroked it down the right-field line for a double. After leaving the game, Wainwright admitted that he threw Jeter a couple of fastballs out of respect.
After his leadoff double in the bottom of the first, Jeter scored the first run of the game on a triple by Mike Trout. Two batters later, Miguel Cabrera drilled a line-drive bullet into the lower deck in left field to give the AL an early 3-0 lead.
Utley, making his fifth start in an All-Star Game and first since 2009, had a very productive game for the NL. He drove a 2-2 pitch from Boston lefty Jon Lester high off the rightfield wall to drive in the NL’s first run in the second inning. Utley then came around to score on a double by Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
Utley’s double would have been a homer in many big-league parks, including Philadelphia.
Two innings later, Utley reached base after getting hit by a pitch on the arm from White Sox lefty Chris Sale. Utley was then removed from the game for pinch-runner Dee Gordon, who raced around the bases and scored on Lucroy’s second RBI double. That made the score 3-3.
The AL took the lead back with a pair of runs against Minneapolis-area product Pat Neshek the fifth inning. Once again, Trout was at the center of it all. He doubled home the tie-breaking run. Houston’s Jose Altuve followed with a sacrifice fly to give the AL a 5-3 lead.
The AL pitching made that lead stand up. Glen Perkins, a Minnesota native and the closer for the hometown Twins, registered the final three outs and the save.
With the win, the AL earned home-field advantage in the World Series.